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Orchestration mentorship programme

Calling all budding orchestral composers

The SAMRO Foundation is inviting applications for its new orchestration mentorship programme, aimed at developing young composers.

The foundation, which is the music education and corporate social investment arm of the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO), has launched this pilot project to help new or inexperienced composers gain critical skills and techniques in orchestration.

The programme is a new addition to the foundation’s many existing music education and development initiatives, such as its annual music study bursaries and overseas scholarships competition.

Explains André le Roux, the executive general manager of the SAMRO Foundation: “SAMRO’s primary business is administering the performing rights of composers and lyricists. For that reason, we decided it was critical to invest in the development of emerging young composers. 

“We are specifically focusing on generating new, original compositions of the orchestral variety, after identifying a lack of significant orchestral works by South African composers.”

He said a major concern was that few emerging composers had adequate abilities and knowledge of orchestration to be able to create music for symphony orchestras or symphonic bands. It was also important for the development of music in the country, he added, to diversify its orchestral repertoire.

In a bid to fill the gap, the foundation is calling on prospective composers from around the country to apply for the inaugural mentorship programme. The successful candidates will be coached by professional composers with an established reputation for excellence. 

The programme’s emphasis is primarily on nurturing young black and/or female composers, with a view to creating works that incorporate elements of African music. 

The successful mentorship candidates will be expected to produce an orchestral suite, comprising three to four three-minute movements. These commissioned works, produced under the auspices of the programme, will then become part of SAMRO’s orchestral repertoire.

It is envisaged that the programme will benefit both mentor and mentee, encouraging the exchange of knowledge, ideas, inspiration and abilities.

There is no cost attached to the orchestration mentorship programme. Up-and-coming composers are invited to send their application, preferably accompanied by a composition portfolio if available, to Tshifhiwa Phophi at, on or before 7 September 2012. Queries may also be directed to the SAMRO Foundation at (011) 712-8417/8.